Sophocles, creator; Sophocles the plays and fragments with critical notes, commentary, and translation in English prose Part 6 The Electra; Jebb, Richard Claverhouse, Sir, 1841-1905, editor, translator. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1894.
her glorious bridegroom by her side urges her on—that total impotent, that utter plague who fights his battles with the help of women. But my heart is broken by my suffering as I constantly wait for Orestes to come and end these troubles.
For the perpetual imminence of his actions has eradicated every hope that I could conceive. In such a state of affairs, then, friends, there is no room for self-restraint or for reverence. Rather, in these dire straits there is much need to pursue a dire course.
Tell me, is Aegisthus nearby as you speak these words to us, or has he left the house?
He is gone, to be sure. Do not think that I would have come to the doors, if he were nearby. He happens now to be in the country.
Might I converse with you
more boldly, if this is so?
He is not here, so question me. What is it you want?
I ask you, then, what report can you give of your brother? Will he come soon, or is he delaying? I wish to know.
He says he will come, but although he promises he never does what he says.
True, a man will hesitate on the verge of a great undertaking.
And yet I saved him with no hesitation.
Take heart: he is noble enough to stand by his friends.
I believe it; otherwise I would not have remained alive so long.
Say no more now, since I see your sister
coming from the house, Chrysothemis, offspring of the same father and mother. In her hands are sepulchral offerings, such as are customary for those in the world below.
Enter Chrysothemis, from the house.Chrysothemis
What is this speech of yours, sister, which you have come forth yet again to speak at the public doors?
Will you not learn with any lapse of time to end your vain indulgence in futile anger? Yet this much I know—that I myself am saddened by our present circumstances; indeed so much so that, could I find the strength, I would bare my feelings towards them.
But now, in these evil times I think it best to navigate with shortened sail so that I may not seem to be on the attack, when I am unable to cause harm. I wish that your own conduct were the same! Nevertheless, right is on the side which you favor, not on that which I advise. But if I am to live the life of the freeborn,
those in power must be obeyed in all things.
It is strange, indeed, that you, the daughter of our father from whom you grew, should forget him and instead show concern for your mother! All your admonitions to me have been taught by her; you speak no word of your own.